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Finnish Study Supports Contractual Work Model for Berry Pickers

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A study by the Finnish Pellervo Economic Research and the University of Vaasa have evaluated the economic impacts that two different regulatory options: that pickers coming to Finland would either have a contractual employment relationship based on seasonal work or that they would work independently as self-employed persons.

According to the report, a contractual employment relationship would provide pickers with the benefits of such a relationship and the security of a minimum wage. However, the change would not necessarily increase income for all berry pickers or prevent the indebtedness caused by traveling.

Contractual employment would lead to higher costs for berry companies. Some companies would have to change their operations and others might have to withdraw from the market. Rising costs would put upward pressure on the prices of domestic wild berries.

According to the report, amending the legal provisions on the wild berry sector is justified. Seasonal work based on an employment contract appears more realistic than self-employment.

“For pickers who do not know Finnish and come from very different cultural environments working as self-employed persons would be cumbersome and inefficient in terms of costs. In practice, pickers would not be able to fulfill their statutory obligations. The pickers would still be dependent on the wild berry companies because they would have to conclude contracts with them to sell the berries,” says Henna Busk, Senior Economist at Pellervo Economic Research.

The report supports political decision-making on the alternative models. The possible changes are intended to take effect for the harvest season of 2025.

Read the press release HERE.

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